Orange County commissioners voted to accept the donation of a 2000 Kawasaki KL650 motorcycle to the Orange County Sheriff’s Office. According to Clint Hodgkinson, chief deputy, the sheriff’s department actually received the bike from the military in 2009, but it has never been put into inventory.

“We got it in 2009, but it had never been brought before the court because we didn’t think we were going to use it,” said Hodgkinson. “The bike is a dual purpose bike and we got it from the military. It actually had only 57 miles on it. It’s practically brand new accept it was used during a war. It’s a street legal dirt bike. We’ve had our 4-wheelers and that is something Sheriff Merritt has done, pushed for us to have our own equipment.” He said there are some areas of the county that are not accessible by foot easily, sometimes you need a horse.

Hodgkinson said he thinks it will only take about $300 to get the bike street ready so it could just be driven to where they need it instead of putting it on a trailer to get it to the location. Hodgkinson has been working on the bike and said it is in good working order.

The bike was given to the department in 2009 when they went to San Antonio to pick up the “Deuce and a half” they had been awarded.

“They were really pushing these motorcycles off to every police agency that was there picking up stuff they got off this bid list,” said Sheriff Keith Merritt.

“We weren’t in the market for a motorcycle. We didn’t go with the intent of getting a motorcycle,” said Merritt. “It’s a little bit aggravating to see where the tax dollars are going.” With only 57 miles on it Merritt said it obviously wasn’t used very much.

“They were just begging us to take this motorcycle when we go, although we really weren’t in the market for it.” Merritt said he finally gave permission to bring it back and it was loaded in the truck and brought to Orange.

“It wasn’t that we were in the market and going out to try and get motorcycles. We just came across this one absolutely free of charge. I understand the judge’s concern about insurance and stuff like that. I just think it’s something we could possibly use if the need ever comes up where we can’t get out with 4-wheelers. We don’t have any horses or anything that a livestock officer uses.”

“We have equipment that we don’t use every day, but that one time you need it, you wish you had it,” said Hodgkinson. “That’s the situation I was in a lot of times as a patrol sergeant. There were a lot of times people would call us and you don’t want to tell someone who possibly has a kid injured on a 4-wheeler out in the middle of nowhere that you can’t get to them. That’s kinda my philosophy on being in that situation again. That’s why [Merritt] has pushed to get all that equipment for everything, be it waterways or land or whatever.”

Merritt said insurance for the bike would be very minimal since it would not be used that often.

Commissioner David Dubose said Sheriff Merritt doesn’t ask for things unless he can see potential need in the future and he felt it should be approved. Someone did say it would be cheaper than the upkeep on a horse.

Auction results in proceeds of $104,154.90

In other business county purchasing agent Connie Cassidy was very pleased with the results of the first online auction held with Rene Bates. The county portion received was $104,154.90, which is the most over raised with county auctions of surplus items. In comparison, Cassidy said the county raised $77,000 in 2010 and $21,000 in 2008.

“I’d like to thank everyone for giving us a hand,” said Cassidy.

Drought map improving

Rain over the past week has brought the drought charts into an almost acceptable level for the area according to Jeff Kelley, director of Emergency Management.

Dental insurance approved

Commissioners adopted the rate of $29 a month per employee for the fully funded dental benefit. Employees will pay the following for dependent coverage: Child $34, Spouse $34 and Family $72.

Landscaping contract approved

Coastal landscaping was awarded the contract for landscaping at the Orange County Convention and Expo Center.

Chief Deputy Clint Hodgkinson addresses court concerning the motorcycle donated to the sheriff’s department by the military. RECORD PHOTO: Penny LeLeux

About Penny LeLeux

Penny has worked at The Record Newspapers since 2006. A member of the editorial staff, she has "done everything but print it." Most frequently she writes entertainment reviews and human interest stories, with a little paranormal thrown in from time to time.She has been a lifelong member of the Orangefield community.